What neighbors can do to help regarding recent violent crime in Ward 5

Ward 5 continues to experience instances of violence crime, particularly during the summer months. Councilmember McDuffie has introduced and passed legislative remedies, but we understand that it will take a comprehensive approach to addressing crime. This includes legislation, policing, government services, and assistance from our residents and businesses.

Below are ways that you can help!

NEAR Act Legislation
Councilmember McDuffie has always stated that MPD will not be able to solve issues of violence alone. Therefore, he is committed to implementing proactive and more holistic approaches to crime. Back in 2016 Councilmember McDuffie authored and successfully passed the Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results Amendment (NEAR) Act. The NEAR Act recalibrates how the District approaches safety, by not just addressing crime after it occurs, but rather working to prevent crime by treating its root causes in a long term, sustainable way.

How you can help: Right now the NEAR Act is scheduled for funding beginning October 1, 2017. Councilmember McDuffie is formally requesting Mayor Bowser to reappropriate funding for components of the NEAR Act to go into effect sooner than the start of the next fiscal year. Please contact the Office of the City Administrator (202-724-5400) in support of earlier funding and full implementation of the NEAR Act.

Drug-Related Nuisance Business Abatement Legislation
Councilmember McDuffie has introduced legislation to close a gap in current drug-related nuisance abatement law that was brought to light at the Ward 5 Emergency Public Safety meeting held in March of this year. This legislation expands current law to permit civil actions against problem tenants who are complicit in allowing drug, firearm, and prostitution-related activity in their home or place of business. Current law allows action against owners of commercial property, but not their tenants.

How you can help: The first step to getting this legislation passed is for the Judiciary Committee to schedule a hearing. We need your help to encourage the committee to schedule a hearing. Please contact the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety (202-724-7808) to voice your support to schedule a hearing on the Drug-Related Nuisance Abatement Amendment Act of 2017 (Legislation Number B22-0189).

Security Camera Rebate Program
Residential and business safety cameras are critically important and useful in helping mitigate and solve crimes. The District has a special rebate program to help property owners offset the purchase and installation costs for the security cameras on their property.

How you can help: If you have not already done so, please take advantage of this program and install a security camera at your home. Also encourage your neighbors to do so. You can find out more information about the program on the D.C. Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants website.

Resident Volunteer Opportunities
Community engagement is the number one deterrent to crime. We all must do a little bit to help. Commissioner Ursula Higgins (ANC 5B02) is reconstituting neighborhood teams in her SMD to help provide solutions and resources for members of our community who need help the most. She has teams centered around Mentoring, Employment, Outreach and Other Resources.

How you can help: : If your ANC Commissioner is not already doing so, please encourage and assistance them with establishing neighborhood teams in your area as well.  Please help recruit your neighbors to spare a small amount of time (as little as an hour a week or month) to provide support to youth and others in need of assistance.  If you are not able to get in contact with your ANC, please reach out to Kelley Cislo in our office (kcislo@dccouncil.us).